Digicel invites rival company, Orange to turn the page on their litigation

Digicel invites rival company, Orange to turn the page on their litigation

…as company responds to multimillion-dollar judgement award in its favour

BY DURRANT PATE
Observer Business Writer

Sunday, June 28, 2020

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HAVING been awarded a multimillion court judgment, Jamaica-based telecommunications giant Digicel has requested that its rival company, Orange, based in France, not take their litigation any further.

Last week the French Appeals Court awarded Digicel nearly €250 million (US$280 million) in compensation for anti-competitive practices by Orange in the French Caribbean islands. Digicel (formerly Bouygues Télécom Caraïbe) and Orange are competitors in the French Caribbean countries of Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana.

In its first official response to the historic judgment Digicel welcomed the court award, which is the latest judgment in a long-running legal dispute between the two telecoms providers in the French Caribbean.

The dispute dates back to the early 2000s, when the State-controlled Orange dominated the telecoms markets in Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana.

 

DIGICEL ENCOURAGES ORANGE NOT TO PURSUE FURTHER LITIGATION

According to a Digicel spokesperson,“Digicel has invited Orange to turn the page on this protracted litigation which has gone on for way too long.” However, a spokesman from Orange indicated last week, when the judgment was handed down, that the company is considering whether to launch an appeal in France's highest court, the Cour de Cassation.

Jamaica Observer's Sunday Finance was sent a prepared statement by Digicel, for its comments regarding our request for their response to the historic judgment. In the prepared statement Digicel lamented that, “Orange's anti-competitive practices in the French West Indies have yet again been confirmed by the French courts…”

The Jamaica-based company, owned by Irish billionaire Denis O'Brien, said “the decision by the Paris Court of Appeal is the outcome of a dispute that has been ongoing for 16 years, with more than 10 legal proceedings which have almost all been rendered in favour of Digicel”. The statement acknowledges that this is the largest compensation by a French court for damages due to anti-competitive practices .

According to Digicel, the Paris Court of Appeal has confirmed that Orange was guilty of anti-competitive practices in the French West Indies, to the detriment of its competing operator, Digicel.

 

DETAILS OF THE HISTORIC AWARD

The court ordered Orange to pay a sum of 250 million euros, distributed as follows:

• € 181.5 million in damages (loss of profit due to anti-competitive practices) including €173.64 million for loss of profit and development, €7.12 million for exclusivity with resellers, €737,500 for exclusivity with repairers;

• €68 million in interest for financial loss suffered as a result of the initial injury, specific interest rate of 5.3% from April 1, 2003 to December 31, 2005;

• Statutory interest rate (on average 2% over the period) from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2018;

• Statutory interest rate (on average 2% over the period) from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2018;

• Specific interest rate of 5.3% from April 1, 2005 to December 31, 2005;

• Statutory interest rate (on average 2% over the period) from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2018.


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